First published Saturday, May 25, 2013
It’s been quite a week! The weather is doing the usual trick of fooling us in to thinking summer has arrived, then knocking us off balance (literally!) with gusty winds and showers. However, Pembrokeshire people are not deterred by this at all, oh no!
Gathered round a shimmering pool this morning were a good number of the well known faces of Pembrokeshire. From County Councillors, through to MPs and AMs, local business owners and journalists, all were gathered in the slightly absent sunshine to welcome Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo’s latest residents, the Humboldt Penguins.
Penguin Coast, officially opened by Edwina Hart AM, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, is the result of four years planning, investment and downright hard work by and on behalf of the team at Folly Farm. It’s been big news for many, and supported by a strong marketing campaign, and high levels of local interest.
Of course, we have many more businesses here in Pembrokeshire who have also been very busy investing in their product and offering, and over the course of the next few weeks we will hear a great deal more about them too. Oakwood Theme Park has redeveloped one area of the site to introduce a new family friendly themed area – Neverland – full of iconic London landmarks, pirates, and of course fairies and a certain well known character with the surname of ‘Pan’! Due to have an official launch in the next few weeks, it’s been a very clear indicator of the way in which Oakwood is now headed with a huge investment of private funds, and plans to continue doing further developments over the coming months and years.
Heatherton World of Adventures has also invested in and developed the offering on site. With ‘Body Zorbing’ and ‘Water Wars’ being just two of the latest additions, there is a continuation of the ‘something for everyone’ theme on the park, with the Craft Shack offering something a little more sedate, and the Tree Tops Trail providing the adrenaline kick. In common with other attractions providers in the county, there are a number of activities under cover, so should the weather be providing more ‘liquid sunshine’ then there are still plenty of things to do.
Manor House Wildlife Park, otherwise known as Anna’s Welsh Zoo, has introduced another rhino this year, taking the total of this particular endangered species on site to three. Again the park has seen considerable investment over recent years, which again continues throughout this year and beyond, as further indoor areas are added, and the conservation and educational work carried out by the park being made more accessible to the visitors.
Of course there are many, many more attractions and activities in Pembrokeshire, and to list them all would take some doing! Furthermore we have superb cafes, restaurants, shops, museums, galleries, pubs, walks, craft centres, beaches, and of course accommodation offerings to suit all pockets. Whilst the First Minister Carwyn Jones commented only this week that Wales needed better weather to boost the tourist trade, here in Pembrokeshire there is a strong and clear message that the visitor is welcome whatever the weather, and that there is plenty to do come rain or shine!
So yes, as we head into the Whitsun Half Term holiday, with a mixture of sunshine and showers on the horizon, let it be known that the Pembrokeshire Welcome is in full flow, and Pembrokeshire, the businesses and the county as a whole, is very much open for business!
Edwina Hart AM, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, opens Penguin Coast at Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo.